England

Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote Review

     Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote 3 Stars! 

Will Rowan’s festival fling with sexy dancer Seth lead to something more permanent?

Rowan is stuck at a folk festival helping out a mate, and it really isn’t his scene. The yoga and singing workshops are bad enough, but morris dancing is the final straw. Bearded men with beer guts prancing around wearing bells—who wants to watch that?

All Rowan’s preconceptions are shattered when he meets Seth—a morris dancer, and the stuff Rowan’s fantasies are made of. Seth persuades Rowan to come to a dancing workshop, and Rowan’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to know Seth better. The attraction is mutual, and a lesson filled with innuendo and flirting leads to an incredible night together.

When Rowan arrives home, he’s gutted to find that Seth has given him the wrong phone number. Assuming Seth did it on purpose, Rowan resolves to forget about him. But fate—and friends—conspire to get them back together. Will they manage to stay in step this time around?

Review

This is a quick romance that gives us a peek into a British folk dancing tradition which I loved.

It is sweet and sexy and hopeful. 

Be My Best Man by Con Riley 4 star Review

  Be My Best Manby Con Riley 4 Stars!!

Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?

After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.

According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.

Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.

Review

This is a very good romance that explores the issue of refugee status for queer people whose home countries.

Vanya is in an untenable position when he meets Jason an older man struggles to accept his brother’s pending marriage.

What is wonderful about this love story is how much these two heroes have in common and the emotion they share.

You can feel Jason’s respect for Vanya and Vanya’s admiration and empathy for Jason.

The conflicts that arise make sense.

The book wobbles in the end as Jason reacts instead of thinks and it doesn’t seem wholly in character. He clings to the lessons of a bad relationship in ways that though explained don’t seem on the nose. The end of the book would have been richer if we got to see more of Vanya together than apart.

Still, it is a very good romance and worth reading.

True Brit by Con Riley 4 Star Review

    True Brit by Con Riley 4 Stars!

Winning the United Kingdom’s favorite singing contest is a challenge for half-Afghani Pasha Trueman. He doesn’t have the best voice, but success would be life-changing. His strategy is simple—he’ll make the British public love him.

Ed Britten is an ex-soldier with a different agenda. Winning means he’ll keep a promise made after a deadly Afghan ambush. His voice is his weapon, but he leaves his heart unguarded.

Ed and Pasha’s discovery that the contest isn’t a fair fight calls for creative tactics. Staging a fake love story could bring victory, only there’s more at stake than the prestigious first prize. If winning means surrendering each other, they could both end up losing.

Review

I was utterly charmed by this book but it has some loose ends that were annoying because if these issues had been addresses it would have went from being a very good lover story to an excellent one.

Pasha and Ed are very different people. However, they are on a singing show together and end up needing each other and liking each other very much.

This a spot on pretend relationship plot for those of you who like me love those. It is great.

They communicate and are steadfast. There are lots of twists and turns that I don’t want to give away. Each character is detailed and the exploration of the heroes and falling in love is grand against the backdrop of the show.

They are both very smart but hurting and take time to show each other fully who they are.

It is a really good book.

The ends that that dangle: A better understanding of what happen to Ed in the army, more with Pasha’s auntie and his sexuality… And others stuff lol.

Very good overall.

Nothing Special by Jay Northcote Review

   Nothing Special by Jay Northcote 3 Stars!

Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah sees on his commute home most days. But when Noah’s friend, Dom, persuades Noah to take a huge risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. Noah and Sol start dating, and much to Noah’s surprise, his feelings seem to be reciprocated.

But Noah’s insecurities make him doubt Sol. He doesn’t believe he’s interesting enough or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention, and as Sol tries to get closer, Noah’s instinct is to pull away to protect himself. If their relationship is going to survive, Sol needs to convince Noah that he sees Noah very differently than Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.

Review

This is sweet wish fulfillment where the hero gets is daily commute crush. They fall in love fast–too fast for the kind of character development that would make this a better romance and there could be a higher heat level but I enjoyed this story.

Without a Compass by Helen Juliet Review

   Without a Compass by Helen Juliet 3 Stars! 

Riley Anderson isn’t an outdoorsy guy. He’s a desk jockey, office by day and couch by night. So when his family insists on a camping trip for his father’s 50th birthday he’s hardly thrilled. Things only get worse when Kai shows up, too.

Kai Brandt’s more than eager to go camping with his best buddy, but his buddy’s little brother Riley is all grown up now, and hotter than hell. Kai’s willing to help him pitch more than just a tent… Which is weird, because Kai never swung that way before.

Events conspire to out Riley’s secret AND leave him stranded in Kai’s care for longer than they’d planned for. Trapped together in the wilderness, they’re going to have to face a few hard truths if they’re going to make it back to the world.

But even if they manage it, the experience will leave them forever changed.

Review 

Juliet writes really sweet romance with kind characters and engaging love stories at the center.

Riley is a wonderful person who fights hard to be himself and there for his family. Kai is a big strong affable guy who takes life as it comes.

We get camping in the English countryside, some uncomplicated villains and stuck outside romance.

Good stuff if the end is a bit rushed.

Spun! (The Shamwell Tales, #4) by J.L. Merrow Review

     Spun! (The Shamwell Tales)  by J.L. Merrow 3 Stars!

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory — just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want — or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Review

I like a great deal about this book but it ends before we get a fully developed relationship. I wanted to see Rory and David as a couple and in love. They just basically start really being together when the books ends and it was frustrating.

Rory is a great guy. I love that he has shared custody and the underlying discussion of gendered childrearing. His sexuality could be better discussed between him and David for richer emotionial intimacy.

David is wonderful as well if we take him for his actions in this book. We might need a bit more self reflection as he grows up and gets what he really needs here. I like his interactions with his mom around love.

The circle of friends and the setting is great. Even though most of these books have had problems for me, I like this world and wouldn’t mind reading more but with more couple time and longer romance time.

Out! (The Shamwell Tales #3) by J.L. Merrow Review

Review:

Out! (The Shamwell Tales) - J.L. Merrow

Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet — at least, the small portion of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Determined to make amends to his neglected teenage daughter from a failed marriage, Mark swears off work — and love — so he can give her a stable home environment. But Mark’s resolve to keep his heart under wraps is tested when he meets an out and proud young man he’s instantly drawn to.

Patrick Owen is a charity worker with strong principles. He doesn’t trust easily, but he’s blown away by his attraction for the older man who’s so new to his own sexuality. Yet Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter — and Patrick refuses to live a lie.

What with Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and his flirtatious ex-colleague who’s determined to come between them, Patrick begins to wonder if they’ll ever be on the same page. And when Mark’s career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, sparks really start to fly — in all the wrong ways.

 

Review

I liked this romance between with older man with a very grumpy teenager and a young man.

 

The most intersting part of me, aside of the setting and the cast of characters in the series which I like very much, was the aspect of the story that dealt with what it meant to be queer and coming of age in different decades. This conflict between the heroes was meaningful and compelling.

 

There is a lot of fun and dashing around and push and pull.

 

It make me happier this book need to be longer. I wanted much more couple time after Mark and Patrick were all sorted out and really together. I wanted to see them in a full on relationship to earn the I love you.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588870/out-the-shamwell-tales-3-by-j-l-merrow-review

A Family for Christmas by Review

    A Family for Christmas  by Jay Northcote 3.5 Stars!

Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.

Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.

Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.

It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.

 

Review

Well, this sweet little English Christmas romance should warm you right up. It has a great setting and wonderful family and holiday traditions. It is fun to watch a hero with trust issues fall in love.

Very cozy and sexy.

Barging in by Josephine Myles Review

Review:

Barging In - Josephine Myles

When the boat’s a rockin’, don’t come knockin’!

Out-and-proud travel writer Dan Taylor is a city boy who can’t steer a boat to save his life, but that doesn’t stop him from heading into the English countryside to write up a narrowboat holiday. Compared to London, the canal seems dull as ditchwater. Until he crashes into the boat of a half-naked, tattooed man whose bad-boy, penniless appearance doesn’t fit with his posh accent. Dan is intrigued, and he always gets his man.

Still smarting from a past betrayal, Robin Hamilton is firmly closeted in his narrowboat—his refuge from outrageous, provocative men like Dan. But as circumstances keep throwing them together, he can’t help himself from coming to the hopelessly out-of-place city boy’s rescue. Exposure to Dan’s sunny charm starts to melt Robin’s resolve and he’s tempted by the idea of a brief, harmless fling.

After all, in less than a week, Dan will have left the canal and be back to his diet of casual hook-ups and friends with benefits.

Determined not to fall in love, both men dive into one week of indulgence…only to find themselves swept away by a current of escalating intimacy and emotional intensity. Troubled waters they didn’t anticipate… and haven’t a clue how to navigate.

 

Review

Sigh. This book should have worked for me. It has a great setting on the canal systems of contemporary Britain, It explores a subculture of those living on the waterways. It even has a cat.

But I never warmed up to Dan. I don’t love man whores who treat their partner’s as objects and I just couldn’t get past his arrogance. 

I bought the heat between him and Robin though and it is very hot. Myles always writes a decent book but by the time we came to understand Robin’s history I had lost interest and no matter the grand gesture didn’t really root for this couple.

 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1614196/barging-in-by-josephine-myles-review

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall Review

  Looking for Group by Alexis Hall 3 Stars! 

So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.

And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit’s real. Obviously.

Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.

Review

I loved this story right up until the end. The end could have been so much better. Richer with more detail.

However, I think if you aren’t a gamer nerd with lots of time in MMO’s (Warcraft particularly) a great deal of this romance set in game with make you nuts. It is a bit like a foreign language. There is a glossary at the back which you should read first.

I am a gamer (even though I don’t game much anymore) so those parts were fun for me. The conflicts were true to life outside the game and the love story sweet.